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Banking officials reporting surge in check fraud cases | Illinois


(The Center Square) – Banking officials are warning Illinoisans about a rise in check fraud cases.  

In Illinois, check fraud has increased dramatically in recent years. Data shows that over 26,000 Illinois consumers and businesses fell victim to check fraud in 2022, a 104% increase from 2021.

The Illinois Bankers Association said criminals target their victims with sophisticated schemes that can involve a legitimate payment request, a blank check stolen from a checkbook, a previously paid or canceled check found in the garbage, or a check placed in the mailbox to pay a bill.

“Things are tight and inflation is already high so we want to make sure, as best as we can, that people are aware of this and they’re protected and don’t fall victim to this crime,” IBA president Randy Hultgren said.

A report from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network found that banks reported roughly 680,000 incidents of check fraud last year, marking a significant increase from the 350,000 reports made in 2021. The U.S. Postal Service has also reported an unprecedented increase in mail theft and check fraud. 

Hultgren advises ordering checks from a reputable source, imprinting digital checks with a bold font that is difficult to alter, and tracking and monitoring bank accounts regularly. 

He adds that if consumers suspect suspicious behavior, they should contact their bank immediately.

“The tactics used by these criminals are constantly evolving, and Illinois bankers are encouraging consumers to stay informed and vigilant,” Hultgren said.

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Caleb Alexander

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